Thursday, May 19, 2016

Camp Counselors of All Kinds

Over the past few weeks, I've seen lots of Facebook posts about former camp counselors, about the need for counselors at a Lutheran camp here and there this summer, and this morning, a sad thought stabbed me:  I never got to be a camp counselor at Lutheridge.

I was, however, a camp counselor at Camp Congaree, Girl Scout camp, the kind with semi-permanent tents on big wooden platforms around a lake.  It was a similar experience to being a counselor at Lutheridge, but also vastly different.

I had wanted to be a counselor at Lutheridge, but they hired former counselors first, and then college seniors, then juniors, then sophomores, then freshman.  For summer of 1984, all the slots were filled, and no freshman females were hired.  I also applied for the internship to the chaplains in the national parks program--another no.  By May, I was applying at fast food places--another  set of no and no answers, how discouraging.  Someone at our Lutheran church in Lexington knew that the Girl Scout camp needed counselors, so I applied, and finally, someone wanted me.  I was profoundly grateful, and overall, it was a great experience.  I got to be one of the backpacking counselors, which was an amazing experience, and shaped me in ways I continue to discover.

But still, a moment of sadness, both because I never got to be a counselor at Lutheridge, but also because I'm not likely to ever be a counselor.

But then I had another thought:  maybe I am a camp counselor, but in a very non-traditional way. 

I'm thinking of all the years I've been at Create in Me at Lutheridge, many of them in a leadership role.  In a way, that's like being a camp counselor, in charge of shepherding others with less camp/retreat experience.  I also feel more connected to both the camp and the retreat during the months when we're not there.  And more important, I'm part of a community, far-flung as it is.  In recent years, social media like Facebook has helped me feel connected to that community on a weekly basis.

I imagine it's different than being a college kid who spends a whole summer at camp.  But it's also an opportunity many adults will never have.  For that, I am grateful.

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